Wednesday, May 4, 2016

When God Tells You to Go...

There have been a few times in my life where I knew that I knew that God was telling me to take a step. Make a change. Trust in Him and Him alone to step out into this new adventure that only He knew the end result.

Those times have been few throughout my life but they have been quite impactful. There are some changes taking place around our family and God is moving in ways that none of us could have imagined. No, we are not moving but some of our family is making a huge decision on major changes. Throughout this whole process it has been an emotional roller coaster of questions, concerns, what is the "right" thing to do. That is a normal part of the human experience. What I want to focus on is something that has been floating around in my heart through all of this... Something that is never easy but always worth it. Something that can be scary, exciting, frightening, and make you shake your head in wonder... When God says it's time to go...

We can see Him do this a lot in the Bible. People were told to go many times. Some listened and the journey was amazing. Some didn't listen and there were unpleasant things that took place (think Jonah and the whale). One thing is for sure. When God tells you to go somewhere, do something, change something, He's there with you every single step of the way.

One example that stands out in my mind is the story of Abraham. In Genesis 12:1-2 God calls Abram to do something totally out of the box.

"Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from your country, And from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; 2. And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing..."

What do you think Abram thought? Here he was in his own country and God was telling him to leave everything behind him? Leave everything he ever knew and go where He would show him. God was telling him He would make him a great nation and would bless him, and make Abram a blessing but he had to take a step that was scary and HUGE. Leave everything behind him and go to a place he didn't even know yet.

Jesus called the disciples to leave their lives behind and follow Him as he spoke and taught the others about the grace and peace He offered. They left behind their jobs, their homes and followed Him. Was it scary? Probably. Was it a little crazy? Sure. But oh the reward and blessings they received as they walked with Jesus and experienced the miraculous things He did.

I can tell you myself that there have been a few distinct times in my life where God told me to go. When I was a young adult, in college, I was battling with God, and my parents, on a move that they had intended to make. I was making life difficult for everyone because I was NOT leaving my home to go somewhere I knew no one anymore. I was NOT going to change everything I wanted because someone else chose to take a different path.

You know those times that God just gets a hold of you and shakes you? Or maybe it's like a Gibb Slap to the back of the head? (Watch NCIS if you don't know what I'm talking about) Yeah. Those times. I had one of those. I had a sermon that was directed to me and no one else in the room, or at least that was how it felt. God was telling me to go. So, I did.

There have been other times that I have known beyond a shadow of a doubt and other times that I've known but not as firmly. I believe those times are the ones where we walk in faith and see our faith grow even more as God shows us along the way we are heading in the right direction.

See, it takes a lot of faith to take those steps that seem dangerous, scary, and unfamiliar. It takes a lot of faith to say, "Ok. God. You have my attention and I'll go because You say it's time." Sometimes we get huge signs and wonders showing us this is it. Other times it comes in the quiet moments of peace and looking back over the events that led you to the place you're in.

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, without knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the promised land as a stranger in a foreign country..."

By faith... Sometimes, no a LOT of times, we have to take it on faith. God knows what's best for us even when we don't know what's best. He sometimes speaks to us through preachers, friends, the Word, or in little whispers that come from prayer time or just things people say off hand that confirm what you know.

If God tells you to go, go. You may be going to a foreign land as a stranger and are afraid of the unknown. Maybe you're stepping in faith into a new ministry and you're wondering what God was thinking when He told you to go there. Perhaps you're taking a step of faith in your job, your home, or even your family. Whatever it is, when God tells you to go, it is time to go. Your journey ahead is going to be amazing and new. Will there be scary moments? Will you wonder what did you get yourself into? Sure. It's human nature. But the spirit man says, have faith. God's got this. He knows better than we ever could imagine.

Have you ever had times where God told you to go and you had to step out in faith?

Monday, April 25, 2016

YWAM Publishing: Heroes of History Milton Hershey Review

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Recently we reviewed the YWAM Publishing Hereos of History series book called Milton Hershey. These books are a great way to get history in during your homeschool day with a little bit of fun and excitement along the way. The company offers a variety of Christian history books that are stories of the lives of these amazing people in history. It was hard trying to choose just one person to learn about but we love Hershey's chocolate around here so....

What we received:
We received the physical copy of Milton Hershey book and the Digital Unit Study. The unit study is chock full of all types of activities to help you and your child as you go through the book. The book can be read aloud during time with your child or if your child is older, then they can read the book themselves for a quiet reading time period.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
The book is of high quality and is quite easy to read. You're going to love hearing the stories of your favorite historic characters and learning of the sacrifices made to get them where they are today. Stories of their faith and experiences are intertwined together in this journey through their life to make an impact on their society.

How we used it:
Each day we would read a little of the book and work on study guide pages as we went along. We were excited to learn about Hershey and this book made it fun and exciting. The story starts out with Milton as a child and the struggles his family faced. His father was a dreamer and chaser of ideas that seemed far out there when Milton was a child. He faced trials and tribulations along his journey and even his own family weren't sure he'd make it as a candy maker. You learn of Milton's pursuit of education, his journey to make his first chocolate bar and how his mother wasn't always supportive of his endeavors.

Each day we worked on a little more of the book and would incorporate the guide as we progressed. These books are great additions to any homeschool history curriculum as you can focus on one person and learn how they got to be the historic figure they are today.

What we thought:
We personally love the YWAM Publishing history books. They are easy to read, get engrossed in, and have fun facts that you never would have imagined about your heroes in history. If you're looking for a great history addition to your school year, this is one to look at. They are very affordable and there is a wide range of figures from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to Milton Hershey and even Dr. Ben Carson. These books are engaging, interesting and a great way to add history to your daily schedule. You can use one book at a time and have an extensive history curriculum. These are great to use as the main focus and then explore other avenues of the book throughout your studies.

Be sure you check them out on their social media pages below and also see what other Crew Members reviewed by clicking the link below.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thankful Thursday

710. I'm thankful for Boo Bear's play.

711. I'm thankful that Boo Bear's play is over... LOL for just a bit anyway. (this is really our sports team)

712. I'm thankful for beautiful sunny days and the FREEZING COLD pool water. Oy! The older I get the more it hurts

713. I'm thankful for the giggles, laughs, and craziness that flows through our house.

714. I'm thankful for four nights in a row that we've been able to eat at home. That's a record here lately!!!

715. I'm thankful that so many of our church friends were able to get out and come to the play. It means a lot!!

716. I'm thankful my parents were able to see his play for the first time.

717. I am thankful that Boo Bear has found his niche. He isn't a sporty kid but he loves theater, acting, and the drama club. Plus he has his science classes. I'm just so excited for him that he found something he truly loves to do and does it well.

718. I'm thankful for slower days at home. They are few and far between but thankfully things are slowing down.

719. I'm thankful for opportunities God is opening up in front of me that I never dreamed would be there. Can't wait to see what the future holds!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Apologia Educational Ministries: Writers in Residence Review

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

Here in our house we love Apologia Educational Ministries company! They are a staple in our science program and have been since we started homeschooling. Recently we were awarded the opportunity to review their new homeschool writing curriculum by Debra Bell called Writers in Residence.

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

Apologia Educational Ministries is a great company that offers curriculum for a variety of ages, subjects, and grades. We have used a variety of their items including science programs, their awesome field trip journal and now the writing/language arts curriculum program.

What we received:
We received the physical student manual book and the answer key for me. The Volume 1 all in one book contains a guide to get you started, teaches you how to use the book itself, and my favorite, a planned out program for you to use and know how to schedule the modules.

As with all of their curriculum, this program incorporates a Biblical based writing program that helps your child learn to be more creative with their writing projects. It offers a variety of items throughout the book to encourage them to write more often like the Spotlight on Christian Writers. Throughout the book there are stories with questions and answers from famous Christian writers. They tell their stories of how they got into writing, where they get their ideas from, and even if they enjoyed writing when they were younger.

How We Used It:
Each week we would follow the guidelines that the program lays out. For me that was one of my favorite parts of the curriculum. (the science program does that too). It makes it easy for this Mama to know that this is how much work we should be able to cover each day and the pace to keep us on to finish this program in the recommended time.

We would read the daily lessons together and work on the writing projects. Boo Bear is not one that loves writing, (typical boy) and so we worked more together than others. You can let your child work on the assignments themselves or do them together, whatever works best for you. This program includes everything from capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and even figuring out how to come up with your ideas for the stories you write.

Your child learns to investigate their ideas, brainstorm for their ideas, and even how to work with a rubric module. It is broken down into easy to manage steps and processes for grades 4th - 8th. So this would work with a couple of students, depending on their levels.

What we thought:
 We enjoyed working with this program as we do all the Apologia Educational Ministries programs. This is an all inclusive language arts curriculum and makes it easy to get everything in one lesson. It is a program based on 32-weeks at 4 lessons a week. That works great with our schedule as we tend to take one day off a week for make-up, field trips etc.

I highly recommend you check this writing program out from Debra Bell if you're in need of an easy to use program that encompasses the entire language arts.

Click below on the banner to see other reviews and check out Apologia and Writers Residence on social media.

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thankful Thursday

700. I'm thankful for the strength God gives us to get through each day. It's crazy schedules around here and only by His grace and push can we make it through.

701. I'm thankful for finding a Keurig filter that works with my machine. It can be testy sometimes so it's nice to have one it gets along with.

702. I'm thankful for work. It is crazy, busy but it pushes me to grow and learn.

703. I'm thankful for friends that we are meeting and getting to know through our different adventures.

704. I'm thankful that we have such a supportive church family. They are awesome.

705. I'm thankful that we get to try out all kinds of curriculum and that we can change in the middle of the year if we need to.

706. I'm thankful that it's getting to be close to pool time and even if it's freezing, we can swim soon!

707. I'm thankful for unexpected adventures.

708. I'm thankful for time to spend with friends and family when it comes around.

709. I'm thankful for spontaneous get together's with friends for dinner on a Friday night.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit Review

Stopmotion Explosion Review

We recently had the amazing opportunity to review the Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit to make some of our own stopmotion movies. One of the first things that came to mind when this review came up was the awesome LEGO Animation movies we could do.

We received the Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion to review and make some awesomely fun videos of our own.

Stopmotion Explosion Review

The kit contains all you need to make lots of stopmotion movies with your kiddos or for yourself. The kit contains:
  • A camera that is 720p
  • The software to install on your computer for your animation
  • The Stopmotion Guide to making your animation that includes nearly 300 pages of information
  • There's also a quick start guide to get you started fast
The kit can get you started and has everything you need, or you can watch the tutorials on the website to help you get going. You'll learn fun ideas such as how to animate those thousands of LEGO pieces and characters your kids have around the house. You can make movies for yourself or make it a fun family project.

The program works well with Windows XP, Vista and 10, including other versions as well. Ours has updated to Windows 10 so we had the newer version. It was very simple to install the program and get it going. My son chose to sit down and watch all the tutorials on the site, and he was in charge of reading instructions and learning how it works. The program also comes with an audio program so you could add audio to your videos. We had fun playing around with that program as well.

We hooked up everything and went to work. Our software automatically connected to the camera on the computer but that was easy to change over to the camera that came with the set. That camera is also able to move around so that you can stage the shot as you want it to be.

We played around with all sorts of ideas but eventually came up with the T-rex versus LEGO man versus Jet. (can you tell I have a boy in the house?) We set up each shot as we wanted it and then would "grab" it. Grabbing is what you do to record the position your equipment is in at the time.

Once you have grabbed all the shots you would like to use, then you can play your movie. It will put all your shots together and make the movie you've created. You can add different effects by clicking on the onion effect or leave it as you like. You can also delete items if you're not happy with the shot. It makes it very simple to edit and create.

With all that said, here's our video!!!


We had a great time working with this product. It's fun for everyone of all ages, including the parents! I've always liked stop motion as it was very interesting. It incorporates all types of learning such as STEM learning, creativity and thinking of how to make your shot even better. There's all sorts of fun and exciting ways you can use this product in your home. Think LEGO movies, Claymation like the ones when I was a kid, or even your dinosaurs.

I highly recommend giving this product a shot as it is a lot of fun for all involved. It would make a great addition to your homeschool afternoon or for a gift for the creative kiddo in your family. Be sure to check them out on the social media links below and click the Crew banner to see how others worked with this program. You'll also get to see even more videos made by some awesome homeschool families!

Stopmotion Explosion Review

Crew Disclaimer

Thankful Thursday

690. I'm thankful that God doesn't keep you in one place. He moves you and is constantly helping you grow and pushing you to do things you never thought you could.

691. I'm thankful for the growth and wonder that my son has when it comes to learning more about God. It's amazing to watch him grow in his walk.

692. I'm thankful that after the next week things will slow down for us a bit. It's a crazy two weeks right now.

693. I'm thankful for amazing people around me that never fail to inspire and uplift.

694. I'm thankful that God shows us the doors we should walk through if we only listen and let Him lead.

695. I'm thankful for my awesome hubby. I know I say this a lot but he is really amazing. He goes above and beyond to help out and he is truly a gift from God.

696. I'm thankful for surprise dinners with family :)

697. I'm thankful for slow days at home. They are few and far between right now.

698. I'm thankful that things never stay the same. They do change. While I don't always like change, it can be for the better and most times it is.

699. I'm thankful for blueberry coffee. No it's not a deep theological, inspirational thing. BUT It sure does make the mornings go by easier ;)

So what are you thankful for today? Count your blessings!!!